Tag: seo

Good SEO basics for any web site

The article has been edited a bit. Some obvious (‘n glaring to this ex-copy editor) grammar faults. Required an edit.

I work a lot with WordPress on this blog and when developing websites for clients making SEO (search engine optimization) an important part of the process. New websites need to be ranked quickly especially for companies and small businesses without the brand name recognition or a Nike, Levis or Gap. When you look for the big guys their brand name ending with a dot com gets you there quickly. Mostly. But us minnows need all the help we can get to (a) get in and (b) get a position as high as we can.

Isn’t good SEO complicated?

stock image of remodelled keyboard
custom SEO keyboards

I tell my clients that good SEO ain’t rocket science. Or quantum mechanics. But getting it right the first time is just as important as mistakes do more harm than good. However like all science theories, SEO has thousands of opinions. Many patently false. Like the importance of links. From experience the only links that really work is where links on your website that point to another website need to have a reciprocal link back.My previous company, Indax, linked to client sites via its online portfolio. Each entry included a reciprocal link back to Indax via the web developer credit.

But there plenty of developers who believe link farms are the way to boost rankings. These farms work in the short term. But if your website is blacklisted by a search engine, believe me, the route back in is really hard. Grovelling is the least of your worries.

My definitive starter comes from Google. But each ‘engine has its own. Microsoft’s Bing has its own guidelines; except I couldn’t find an official and public content on Bing’s own site. There are third-party sites with Bing-specific tips and tricks. Do be careful though as some tipsters are actually selling SEO services. I’m sure there’s a definitive guides for Yahoo too. But who uses Yahoo any more?

eMusings’ rules for good SEO structure

  • Make sure your website code (aka its HTML programming) is web-standards compliant. If you’re unsure, the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3.org) – the web standards body – offers a free online validator.
  • Make sure your post/page has a descriptive title that explains what the focus content is about. Your page title can be different from the page name (like in this post as I’m testing what makes for good SEO)
  • Just because engines like Google ignore keyword tags doesn’t mean you don’t add a few relevant (keywords) to both website in general and page/post in focus as Bing and Yahoo still index keyword tags (I think)
  • Include a short, sweet and focused meta description – the two-line descriptor displayed under your URL in search results

Doing the Open Directory dance

Including your website in the Open Directory definitely improves a website’s page rank; especially on Yahoo and Bing. But submitting your URL comes much later. First you have to find the most important (aka primary) category you want to be found under. Then you prepare your submission request. Then you wait until a human editor (not so thick on the ground any more) reviews your request before your website actually appears in the Directory. Be patient: there will be be many false starts before you succeed. eMusings has been online for over a decade but it took me 2 years of repeat submissions before my persistence paid off!

Other things we forget

Don’t forget to submit your URL to the Big Three engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing). This is a step so simple and yet most business owners forget building it doesn’t mean anyone will come. Don’t forget tools like Google Webmaster (includes Sitemaps) and Google Analytics as well as similar services offered by other search engines. It also helps to also publicize via social media like Facebook and Twitter (good reason to tweet).

Remember this post is not THE word on SEO. It’s part of a test I’m running to see if I can tweak the way I post to improve my website rankings 🙂

And do be careful of Google AdWords (I haven’t tried any other ad services as I find them distracting). When I used Adwords I often included content critical of Google. I was then politely warned to cease and desist forthwith. Except AdWords lost to my opinions.


Fix WordPress htaccess ineffeciencies

Found an interesting post about WordPress htaccess inefficiencies. For those not in the know htaccess is the file that enables the nice search- and human-friendly page links you see in your browser address bar.

But before I blogged about the issue I decided to test it myself with my own blogs; including this one. And yes the before and after change was significant. Overall the efficient htaccess improved blog response time by 19%. That’s good enough for me as I recently moved to a shared hosting account from a virtual private server (VPS). If you’re wondering why the change, it’s pure economics: I now pay the same per year as I did per month for the VPS!

VPS are a good choice when you have co-host customer sites some of whom may be sending unsolicited emails. The VPS permits the addition of multiple IPs so its easy for a server admin to group know spammers together. Let birds of a feather flock together I say.

But no more space-filling rubbish. For more on improving your WordPress site render times visit http://www.improveseo.info/how-to-optimize-wordpress-htaccess-file/. (Note: This htaccess tweak only works for self-hosted blogs with permalinks enabled.)

Google Search Instant Preview could be better

Google recently raised the bar on search result quality by introducing inline previews of sites matching your keywords. Now you no longer need to view the cached version link (even thought its often faster than the real site) to avoid pop-ups and other annoyances. However these previews aren’t really instant. You still need to click the magnifying glass icon for any result to view a snapshot. However I found a glitch: run a new search and you’ll need to click an icon again to activate the feature.

I realise it’s early days but surely Google’s coders could have made activation persistent for the browser session. I hope they read this post and fix this “glitch”.

Microsoft’s Bing also displays a page preview. But it’s not a visual snapshot. Instead it extracts specific data from the page code and displays it. Sites developed using valid formatting with all their eyes dotted and tees crossed display more usable information that those that don’t.

Yahoo as usual is lagging behind both! How are they ever going to compete if they can’t innovate faster than the competition. Maybe its time to bite that bullet and merge into the Redmond Machine.

The Google Instant Preview also interests me from an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) perspective. Because I can now instantly view a site sans any developer (and client) induced annoyances to get my attention. For know more about the Impact of Instant Preview, click the link.